(John Angell James, "The
Chief End of Life" A new year's
address to the Young Men's Christian Association, 1850)
Time, with ceaseless
flow rolls onward, and is ever bearing
you on its resistless stream--to the boundless ocean of
eternity. Yes, to eternity!
misspent life can never be spent over again! A fault
committed in reference to the 'chief end of existence' can
never be rectified. It is a mistake on which death sets the
seal of eternity--a mistake which will require everlasting
ages to understand and deplore it!
The chief object of
life must be something important.
A rational creature could not be justified in setting up
a mere trifle as the end and purpose of existence. It
marks a base and abject state of mind, or at any rate,
great childishness of taste--to allow one's thoughts,
feelings and aspirations, to be attracted, as to their
center--to a mere triviality.
God has given to man noble faculties--and to see them
all devoted to some mere petty trifle,
as their supreme
aim--is a sad and a humiliating spectacle.